Making ANZAC Biscuits is a great way to not only get the kids involved with cooking but also to discuss and reflect on the importance of commemorating those who have gone before us. This recipe is straight-forward, requires minimal fuss or skill and produces a deliciously chewy result that’ll have everyone asking where you bought them from!
Why do we make ANZAC Biscuits?
The history of this humble biscuit takes us back to the battefields and has changed a lot from its humble beginnings. ANZAC biscuits, in their original form, come from something called a hardtack biscuit. These were a substitute for bread that did not go mouldy (but were very, very hard). This was difficult to stomach in an environment where water and fresh food were scarce so soldiers had to come up with ways to make them tastier!
They found they could make a substance similar to porridge by grating these tough bikkies and adding water to the mix. With jam added, they could then be backed over a fire. Hardly five star dining but better than nothing! Funnily enough, these biscuits also served non-food purposes. They could be written on (like little edible letters) and sent long distances, painted on or used as picture frames.
It’s difficult to say where and when the current version of ANZAC biscuits came from. After about 1920 or so, the version that we know and love (and that you’ll find below) started appearing in Aussie kitchens. They may well have been made at home and sent to the battlefield with love before becoming popular in the broader culture.
There’s an ongoing debate over whether crunchy or chewy is best – we definitely think chewy is the way to go! They last for a long time, they’re sweet to eat and they offer a moment to pause and reflect on the true lasting impact of war.
Why commemorate ANZAC Day?
There is a big difference between a celebration (like a party) and a commemoration. ANZAC Day is all about Rememberance. We remember those who gave their lives so that we could live ours. We remember the families who have lost sons, daughters, husbands and wives. We remember those who have sacrificed so much. We remember hard times that have lead to good.
We remember them.
Prior to cooking!
It’s important when cooking any dish to make sure that you read the recipe carefully and ensure that you have all the ingredients as well as the necessary equipment. If you are a kid in the kitchen, read the following ANZAC biscuits recipe CAREFULLY before you begin so you do not miss any steps.
Families Magazine’s Chewy ANZAC Biscuit Recipe
You will need:
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup plain flour
• 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
• 140g butter
• 3 tablespoons golden syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 3 tablespoons of cold water
• 2 or 3 flat baking trays
• Large mixing bowl
• Small saucepan
• Baking paper
• Wooden spoon for mixing
Method for cooking ANZAC biscuits
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (140 fan forced).
Line your baking trays with baking paper.
Put your coconut, sugar, oats and flour into the mixing bowl and mix together.
Heat your butter, syrup and water together in the saucepan on medium heat. Stir the mixture for two minutes (until the butter has melted). Add the bicarbonate of soda and then remove from heat.
Mix the contents of the saucepan with the oat mix.
Roll your mixture into small balls (you can do this between the palms of your hands). Place them onto the trays and gently flatten them. (Please excuse the imperfect kindy version of this step in the picture!)
Bake the biscuits in the oven for about 12 minutes (or until they turn a light gold colour). Remove from oven to cool.
Safety in the Kitchen
Here are some important kitchen safety lessons:
• Always ensure an adult is present
• Avoid using KNIVES or HOT ELEMENTS without supervision
• Make sure that surfaces remain as slip-free as possible
• Clean up any spills as soon as possible
The Importance of Letting Kids Cook
It’s important to let kids become involved in the kitchen as it teaches them a range of skills and concepts. They will discover new textural sensations like mixing, tasting, rolling and testing. They are introduced to ideas to do with measuring and timing.
Kids love seeing things come to life. Cooking is exciting to be part of because it involves ingredients working together to take shape as something entirely new (and delicious). Letting kids cook is a seriously fun but SAFE risk (you never know how things are going to turn out!) that is a great way to let them have an educational experience in the comfort of your own home.